Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blood Pressure Drugs Ward Off Kidney Disease

(HealthDay News) -- ACE inhibitor blood pressure drugs can cut kidney disease risk in diabetes patients with high blood pressure, researchers report.

The Italian study included more than 1,200 patients with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. They were randomly assigned to receive either an ACE inhibitor drug; another type of blood pressure drug called a calcium channel blocker; a combination of ACE inhibitor and calcium; or a placebo.

Reporting in the December issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the researchers checked the study participants for rates of microalbuminuria -- small amounts of the protein albumin in urine that are among the first signs of kidney disease.

After an average of 3.5 years, patients with good blood pressure control had lower rates of microalbuminuria, regardless of which treatment they received. Patients who took the combination treatment showed the greatest decreases in blood pressure and were less likely to need additional drugs to control their blood pressure, the study said.

The researchers also found that taking an ACE inhibitor, either alone or as part of the combination treatment, provided further protection against kidney disease, even if a patient's blood pressure remained high.

"Treatment with an ACE inhibitor was particularly important when the blood pressure was poorly controlled -- as may happen in most diabetic patients with hypertension, despite the use of two, three, or even more drugs," study lead author Dr. Piero Ruggenenti, of Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Bergamo, said in a prepared statement.

About 80 percent to 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes also have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for diabetic kidney disease. Typically, about 30 percent of diabetics develop kidney failure, and an even larger percentage of them may be at risk of premature death from heart failure. Controlling blood pressure in these patients may be critical in reducing or preventing the risk of kidney failure or death for these patients, Ruggenenti said.

"Our results clearly show that an ACE inhibitor should always be used in patients with high blood pressure and diabetes, even when they have no evidence of renal or cardiovascular disease," he said.

More information
The National Kidney Foundation has more about diabetes and kidney disease.

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